Islanders gather for funeral of teenager ‘taken from this life 80 years too soon’

Morgan Pinder (13), who died in a road crash, remembered as a great ambassador for Clare Island

The remains of Morgan Pinder (13) are carried to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Clare Island, before his funeral mass. Photograph: Conor McKeown

A 13-year-old schoolboy who died in a single vehicle road incident on Clare Island, Co Mayo, at the weekend was recalled at his funeral on Tuesday as a person of “small age but a big presence”.

Fr John Kenny, chief celebrant of the funeral Mass for Morgan Pinder, described him as a great ambassador for the island – whose population stands at approximately 160 – through his involvement in farming, Gaelic football, music and recitations, and public speaking.

“When a child dies it is always nature backwards – grief is overwhelming and life can never be the same again,” Fr Kenny said in a homily that was relayed by loudspeaker to hundreds standing outside a thronged Church of the Sacred Heart on the western edge of the island.

Morgan Pinder from Clare Island. Fr John Kenny, chief celebrant of the funeral Mass, said: “He was so many things in so many ways to so many people in such a short lifetime.”

Fr Kenny, who travelled from Westport to Clare Island to administer the last rites in the early dawn hours, described Morgan as thoughtful and kind, a person who could captivate audiences with his performances.


‘Full of life’

He said the schoolboy, who was due to begin his secondary education at Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh, next month, as “full of life, taken from this life 80 years too soon”.

Fr Kenny continued: “He could make you laugh out loud with his sense of humour. He was so many things in so many ways to so many people in such a short lifetime.”

Light rain fell as the mourners followed the wicker basket containing the remains as it was carried by Morgan’s older brothers, father and other relatives from the Pinder family bungalow at Gurteen to the church, about half a mile away.


Guards of honour were provided by and members of Louisburgh GAA Club as well as sheep farmers – accompanied by their individual prize rams.

Mourners were told that Morgan was renowned for his prize-winning rams. “Many’s the hour he spent fluffing up lambs to keep them looking the best,” recalled a relative at the presentation of offertory gifts where the mementoes carried to the altar included some of the various rosettes he won over the years as well as his sheep shears.

Sporty, like his father, Morgan – who celebrated his 13th birthday in March – participated in the Clare Island 10 in aid of Cancer Care West the following month, coming 21st in a long field of runners.

Earlier this year he accompanied a group from St Patrick’s National School to Áras an Uachtaráin.

Altar server

The teenager, who was involved in a single-vehicle collision at about 1am, near his home on Sunday, was a regular altar server in the island church and on Saturday last he served at the month’s mind Mass for the island pastor who died in June.

The inhabitants of neighbouring islands, including Inishturk and Achill Island, as well as Inishbofin, have been travelling to Clare Island since news of the tragedy broke on Sunday to offer their sympathy to the dead youth's parents, Tom and Maureen, and his three older brothers, Christian, Dylan and Jack, as well as his grandparents, Margaret and Tom Pinder, and other relatives.

At the end of the funeral Mass, one of his brothers, Christian, expressed gratitude on behalf of his family for the huge support they have been receiving since the tragedy.